Day 9: Getting back home through Austria and Switzerland

Not many photo’s today. Leider nicht. I had to make swift progress. But the soaking I received the day before had taken its toll. I woke up relatively late at 8:00 and first I had to deal with wet gear. EVERYTHING was soaking wet. The sun was out but the mountain range flanking the campsite impeded it. I decide to wash my clothes first. I do a hand wash and by the time I started hanging my clothes on the fence as if on a clothesline the most amazing sunshine poured over the mountains. I reveled in it and I was feeling happier by the minute. I noticed something as well.

The bike after a wash. He is a beauty.
It looked like a comet loaded with camping gear had crash landed. But I was just trying to get stuff dry. Notice my laundry hanging on the fence?
The weather was nice and toasty.

At the beginning of the week I was bothered by sleeping in the tent. My back hurt and deep inside I was worried that I was getting old already. I don’t really know what happened but my body cured itself of something during this trip. I have no more back pain. I feel no more stiff muscles as I exit the tent in the morning. I am able to sleep, unlike the first days.

As I moved around that morning: I felt lighter. Younger. I must get to the root of whatever happened. Maybe I have more stress then I believe? Maybe I feel better because I can breathe fresh air all day? Is it a combination of those things? Is it getting into contact with nature? I don’t know. But whatever it is, it is fundamental to my happiness and wellbeing.

When I was washing my clothes I was able to flex my language muscles by having a conversation with a lovely lady from France in the washing room. We chatted for a while and it was a lot of fun talking French. Language muscles where even more flexed thanks to a conversation with an Irish man as I left the washing room. He seemed relieved someone spoke English to him.

A little while after I got back to the tent the French lady came to me and invited me to their camper to have a coffee and some cookies. This gesture struck me deeply and I was genuinely emotional. She sold me they pitied me when they saw me put up camp in the rain the day before. Aww… poor me.

Their camper was awesome. They give me good coffee and we have a great conversation about travelling, camping, family, the economy and even bitcoin. All the while my clothes and my biking gear were drying in the sunshine. I am sure that, when I get older, I will get a camper. Or better yet, build one myself. The French lady and her husband were so lovely, lovely people. I left their camper with a warm heart. This is exactly why I travel the way I travel. With the bad comes the good.

My camp was still a mess. There was a hose available. I decide to liberate the bike of its saddlebags and give it a long-deserved wash. I wash the saddlebags as well. I have no soap but the bike and especially the saddlebags look much better afterwards. I feel good.

I very calmly pack up the rest of my gear and have a shower. I have almost never been this relaxed. By noon I am ready to go. The plan for the day consists mostly of motorway. It seems Austria has “Schnellbahnen”, faster roads, and “Autobahnen”, very fast roads. You can travel at 80 and 130 kph respectively unless a sign tells you otherwise. A schnellbahn takes me through a nice valley and lots of tunnels. In Belgium, motorways are boring. In Austria however, I am plenty entertained. The bike runs beautifully and economically at 80 kph. I feel good. I leave this ‘fast’ road and make a sneaky entrance into Switserland using a lesser used border crossing somewhere near Feldkirch. The idea is to go to the Bodensee and pick up some nice roads while doing it.

The local road takes me from my obscure border crossing to Sankt Gallen. The local roads are speed camera infested and I managed to get flashed by one. Luckily it flashes me in the opposite direction. Motorcycles do not have number plates at the front. So, I hope it will just be a souvenir photo for the Polizei. The landscape features perfect greens again. But with more houses and towns then in Heidi spec Tirol. The best way to describe the landscape is a miniature train landscape scaled up. So perfect. So orderly. I manage to find just one piece of road where I can ride the bike hard. I use it to show a feisty KTM Duke 690 rider how the Belgians do it and leave him (or her) for dead. Yeah. I am a delinquent. Scratch that. I am a biker. It is what we do.

After the local roads I get stuck in cities and I get hot and bothered again. Temperature has been 28 degrees all day. I use my GPS to get to the autobahn for some fresh air. The totem pole of vignettes that used to be my windscreen granting me access to them.

One of the cities I pass through is Konstanz where the Swiss-German border and the Bodensee meet. I make no joke: I would want to live there. So nice. So modern. So close to the area’s I love. Sadly I have no time to visit the city. But I’ll be back.

I brave the heat and ride along the ‘coast’ of the Bodensee. I find a huge beast of a campsite containing masses of German families. But I only care about the facilities, which are plentiful. I set up camp quickly and early at about 16:30. I make a walk around the campsite. It is really, really big. Luckily, it is also very cheerful and I am happy to stay in it.

The bodensee. Campsite ‘beach’.
The last camp

The reason I looked for a campsite early is because I have three days of blogging to catch up. The terrace provides a view on the Bodensee and quick access to a great Hamburger and lots of German beer. I work on the laptop for hours to get this blog on the net. But I feel amazing. I finish the blogging session by a conversation with two French men. We discuss Belgian politics. After that I go to sleep and prepare my expedition for an early leave the next morning. Because next day is motorway day. The trip will be all over then. I promise myself to make an analysis and write it down for you guys.

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